The Failure of the Glasgow Climate Pact

Glasgow Climate Pact planet earth image

Glasgow Climate Pact

In November of 2021, 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants representing almost 200 countries gathered in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. For two weeks, this impressive gathering of policy-makers and experts discussed the science of and solutions for climate change. Over the course of these two weeks—along with work done nearly two years prior—intense negotiations finally produced the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The outcome?

What many experts agree is yet another stark illustration of the failure of governments to make commitments to deep, meaningful carbon emission cuts.

More than 100 countries joined a coalition led by the U.S. and the E.U. to cut methane gas emissions by 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. Six of the world’s 10 biggest methane emitters joined this coalition, but three—China, Russia, and India—did not. These three countries account for 35 percent of global methane emissions.[1] Without them, this pledge will have only limited impact—and that only if the rest of the countries actually meet their commitment.

Language surrounding the use of fossil fuels was also weakened in a last-minute rewording insisted upon by India and China. Thus, changing a commitment to “phase out” the use of coal into a commitment to “phase down” the use of coal. This clearly allows countries to continue using coal.

While the Pact includes funding for aiding developing nations’ transition to low-carbon economies, it still falls far short of the commitment made 10 years ago by wealthy nations to give $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing nations for this purpose—a commitment that has not been fulfilled.

“The final COP26 decision is overwhelmingly compromised by countries that have contributed most greatly to the climate crisis and once again deny justice for climate-vulnerable developing countries,” said Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.[2]

These are just a few examples of how the Glasgow Climate Pact falls short of the measures needed to curb climate change. “The Glasgow meetings serve as a reminder of just how hard it is to achieve transformational progress on climate change in a few weeks,” said Barry Rabe, a professor at the University of Michigan and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “[There’s] some real progress here on issues such as carbon markets, coal transition, methane, and more. The emerging question is whether these areas of agreement can be implemented.”[3]

As the UN summary of COP26 reported, “Cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are still far from where they need to be to preserve a livable climate, and support for the most vulnerable countries affected by the impacts of climate change is still falling far short.”[4]

“The approved texts are a compromise,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said of the Pact. “They reflect the interests, the conditions, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today. They take important steps, but unfortunately, the collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions.”[5]

Once again, it is vividly clear that governments alone cannot achieve the changes required to address this crisis. This is why we need ICEMAN together with powerful market forces. ICEMAN can achieve the cuts needed to save the human race from the ravages of climate change.


Want to learn more about ICEMAN? Read my book, Decarbonize the World to find out about what’s possible with a consumer-centric, competitive advantage-based solution to the climate crisis.

[1] Newburger, Emma. “What the COP26 Climate Conference Really Accomplished.” CNBC, November 16, 2021.

[2] Dewan, Angela, and Amy Cassidy. “Analysis: COP26 Ended with the Glasgow Climate Pact. Here’s Where It Succeeded and Failed.” CNN, November 14, 2021.

[3] Newburger, Emma.

[4] United Nations. “COP26: Together for Our Planet.” United Nations. Accessed April 8, 2022.

[5] Ibid.